David Harris writes:-
Brothers and Sisters,
It gives me great sadness to bring you news of the passing, on the 8th January, of Stuart Rees at the age of 67.
Stuart was an Honorary Life Member of Portsmouth RFC
He Joined the club in the late 70’s and played wing and fullback.
A popular teacher working in a local junior school Stuart’s career was temporarily halted when in February 1979 he suffered a broken neck playing against Portsmouth Polytechnic.
After many months in Stoke Mandeville Hospital he returned home, permanently confined to a wheelchair.
Determined as ever, he returned to education providing IT training for teachers. After retiring he was a volunteer in the local community centre in Liss where he lived.
For Stuart there was no looking back and he confronted his injury with vigour. He got himself back to driving, one of his cars being a Jaguar XJ sports car.
He travelled extensively, skiing in Europe, abseiling in the Lake District and sailing with the Jubilee sailing trust. He even tried scuba diving albeit in a swimming pool.
He never lost his passion for rugby travelling to Wales or Twickenham for the Internationals with the support of some of his former playing comrades.
Stuart supported the club enthusiastically at home and often away. For many years he could be seen watching home games from his wheelchair in what became his spot, in the corner of the balcony.
I spoke today with the rugby friends who were there to support him in the 70s and 80s, and enjoyed his company throughout the 40 years they knew him.
No one appears to be able to remember any occasion of him complaining about the hand he was dealt.
Stuart’s funeral will be at 2.30 at The Oaks Crematorium, Bartons Road, Havant, Hampshire PO9 5NA
Stuart’s nephew Matthew is dealing with the arrangements and I gather that Stuart’s wishes were that it should be a colourful event – as was his life!